Software and performance
The HTC Velocity 4G looks and works like much like most other HTC phones. It runs the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" OS and is skinned with HTC's Sense UI. While Sense has plenty of eye candy including fancy scrolling animations and home screen widgets, we much prefer Google's vanilla UI. This will come down to a matter of personal opinion though: if you like the software on HTC's current Android phones then you'll definitely appreciate it on the Velocity 4G.
All the usual features of HTC Sense are available on the Velocity 4G. You can remove home screens if you don't use them (there are seven by default), the lock screen comes with four customisable shortcuts, along with the ability to display a widget in the middle of the screen, and there's also a 3D rotating effect when scrolling between home screens. Your eight most recently opened applications, quick settings toggles and a link to all phone settings all remain at the top of the notifications panel.
A 1.5GHz dual-core processor makes the Velocity 4G a fast phone, but performance should only improve once it is upgraded to the latest version of Google's Android software, 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich". One of the major improvements in the new software is Web page rendering and faster loading times in the browser. Telstra says the Velocity 4G should be upgraded to ICS "within six weeks", though we wouldn't hold our breath for that exact time frame.
Camera, battery life, Australian availability
The HTC Velocity 4G has an excellent camera. It's an 8-megapixel, backside-illuminated sensor that promises better low light photos. We found the dual-LED flash washed out many of our photos, but colour reproduction is a highlight. The camera app starts almost instantly and is quick to snap successive photos, though it's admittedly not as quick as the shutter on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The camera doubles as a full HD 1080p video recorder, while the 1.2-megapixel front camera impressively records 720p HD video.
The HTC Velocity 4G has below average battery life: it struggled to last a full day with constant 4G coverage, though you should be able to get almost a day of use if you're in a regular 3G coverage zone. We've become accustomed to charging our smartphones before the end of the day, and the Velocity 4G is no exception.
The HTC Velocity 4G is available for $0 upfront on Telstra's $79 Freedom Connect plan, which includes $800 worth of calls and MMS, unlimited SMS and 2GB of data per month. month. The Velocity 4G is also available on a number of business plans.